|Other People | Frank J. Bradley | Olive Rambo Cook | Jerry Litton ||
Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
A descendant of a distinguished pioneer family of Livingston county, J. Lewis Boyle, who today lives in his seventy-first year in well earned retirement at 1309 West Bryant street, Chillicothe, himself represents a link between the past and present, having been born in Jackson township, March 2, 1842, and having been a witness of the advancement and development that has taken place here as pioneer conditions have given way before the onward match of civilization. During his active life one of the representative agriculturists of the section and still owning two hundred and sixty acres of valuable land which he rents out, he has been one of the forceful factors in the agricultural progress as well as in bringing about the prosperous conditions that the present generation enjoys. Born in a little log cabin covered with clapboards, he is a son of John W. and Zerelda (Barbee) Boyle, the former of whom settling here in the frontier days and here spending an active and useful life, was occupied with agricultural pursuits until he passed away on June 26, 1893, at the age of eighty-three years, eight months and twenty-two days. His wife preceded him in death on April 8, 1883, aged sixty-six years, six months and thirteen days.
John W. Boyle, who was a native of Clark county, Kentucky, born October 4, 1809, married Zerelda Barbee in Paris, Kentucky, November 9, 1830, the latter a daughter of Captain Lewis and Catherine Barbee, of Bourbon county, Kentucky. Mrs. Boyle was born in Fayette county, that state, on the 25th of July 1816, and in 1837 the young married couple removed to Monroe county, Missouri, coming in 1838 to Jackson township, Livingston county, settling near Spring Hill. Unto them were born ten children, eight daughters and two sons, of whom two daughters died in infancy and another, Catherine, was long a helpless invalid before passing to the home beyond. William S. Boyle, one of the sons, is now deceased. She was born in Monroe county, August 31, 1837, and at the age or seven was stricken with rheumatism, being severely afflicted until the time of her demise. A faithful and devoted member of the Church of Christ, she endured her fate patiently and in a Christ-like spirit. Her last illness was short and her death took place early Sunday morning, December 20, 1891. Other members of the family are: Mrs. J. P. Hutchison, Mrs. L. H. Christison and Mrs. T. G. Phelps, of Livingston county; Mrs. Howell Smith, of McPaul, Iowa; and J. Lewis, of this review. Another sister who has passed away, well known in Livingston county, was Mary, the first wife of P. H. Lilly. John W. Boyle, the father, at the age of nineteen united with the Christian church and remained a true and faithful member thereof until his death, serving as an elder for forty years. Upon coming to Livingston county he settled on a tract of one hundred and sixty acres and there witnessed many hardships in his struggles to gain a living, but by good management and industry made a success and when he retired from active farming was blessed with plenty to enjoy in his declining years. His last few years he spent mostly with his daughter, Mrs. J. P. Hutchison, enjoying the high respect of old and young throughout the entire county. The funeral discourse was delivered by Elder J. E. Pardoner, at the Lilly Grove church, on June 28, 1893, a large and sincerely mourning audience being present, after which his remains were taken to the old homestead and laid to rest in the family graveyard by the side of his wife. Mrs. Zerelda (Barbee) Boyle was affectionately beloved by all who knew her for her many sweet, womanly qualities. Kind, hospitable and an obliging neighbor, she was a faithful member of her church and it is said of her that no one took a greater interest in the institution.
The paternal grandparents of our subject were James Boyle, who was born in Virginia, August 12, 1776, and Jane (Froman) Boyle, who was the widow of his brother John. The grandparents originally came from Virginia to the Blue Grass state and subsequently died in Missouri. They came to this state when the Indians were numerous, settling in Linn county, where the grandfather died September 29, 1845, the grandmother passing away in Livingston county, January 21, 1854, both having been faithful members of the Christian church. The marriage of John Boyle, the brother of James, to Jane Froman, took place at the home of her father, William Froman, April 15, 1800. A few months later, after the death of John Boyle, she was married on July 25, 1800, to James Boyle. The great-grandparents of our subject were Stephen and Martha Boyle, the latter of whom passed away February 7, 1823, at the age of seventy years. Among members of the Boyle family who are still living in Chillicothe is Amanda Leeper, ninety-six years of age, and Cynthia Lauderdale, aged ninety.
J. Lewis Boyle received his education in the old-fashioned schoolhouse typical of pioneer times with its split puncheons, and his first teacher was Stillman B. Snow. Subsequently he received instruction from Paris Pepper, a private teacher, for a few terms and then from William F. Miller. The education was continued by J. P. Boyle and these courses complete what educational advantages could be procured for him under those trying times of pioneer life. Although his education had been spasmodic and interrupted, he was a studious lad and retained no mean part of his lessons. Early he assisted in his leisure hours in the work on the farm and became acquainted with agricultural methods and details under the able guidance of his father, remaining on the home place until twenty-one years of age. In 1863 the spirit of the west took possession of him and decided him to cross the plains, he making the trip under difficulties and hardships by means of ox teams to Denver, where he engaged in mining operations for a summer, returning in the following winter to his home. In 1864 he farmed with his father in partnership, continuing in that connection until he was married. In 1866 his forbear gave him one hundred and twenty acres of land, to the improvement of which he gave his assiduous attention, bringing it to a high state of productivity and there making his home until 1880, being for the next two years or until 1882 engaged in business. He then bought another one hundred acres of land, which he also improved and where he profitably followed his occupation until 1905, when he retired in the enjoyment of a well earned and highly merited competence, coming to Chillicothe in that year. Since, he has lived in retirement, deriving a handsome income from two hundred and sixty acres of land which he rents out.
On November 20, 1864, Mr. Boyle was united in marriage, in Daviess county, Missouri, to Miss Josephine B. Ballinger, with whom for twenty years he lived a happy domestic life, the faithful wife passing away April 27, 1884, her burial taking place in the Gallatin cemetery. Of this union were born four children: Mary L., who has passed away; Barbee, the wife of W. C. Hutchison, an agriculturist of Jackson township; Ethel L., who married Thomas Hichlin, who cultivates one of the farms of our subject; and Cama J., the wife of W. F. Anderson, who farms in Jackson township. On April 4, 1889, Mr. Boyle married Miss Laura E. Miller, a daughter of J. W. and Mary Miller, the former one of the pioneers of Livingston county who has passed away and is buried in Edgewood cemetery, his wife now residing in Chillicothe. Of this union was born one daughter, Mary K., who is now studying at Manhattan, Kansas, is a graduate of the Chillicothe high school and has attended the Missouri State University. Highly respected in his evening of life as one of the men who has participated most actively in making Livingston county what it is today, public-spirited and not selfishly concerned in his own prosperity alone, Mr. Boyle receives high esteem and confidence from all who know him. A democrat in politics, he has served with distinction as a member of the Jackson township board and for fourteen years has filled the position of justice of the peace, showing such impartiality and fairness in his decisions that his service in that connection has not been forgotten. For twelve years he also was a notary public. He joined the Church of Christ under the teachings of J. D. Willmot in 1860 and still retains his membership in the Lilly Grove church in his old neighborhood. A man strongly marked by character, he is yet a forceful element in the community although he has passed the biblical age of three score and ten, for the years have proven the worth of the labors of one, whose life record reflects credit and honor upon Livingston county.